Sarah had a lot on her plate on a day when both of her widower grandpas asked her to come visit.
"Where is my sandwich, Sarah!? What are you doing in there?!"
"I'm checking your mail for bills, Papa." She tried to be kind. She pushed the stack of envelopes to the back with the others. She tripped over a tub of old newspapers on her way to the counter. She pushed aside the rusted toaster and found a peanut butter bottle. It was empty. She picked up one of the dirty knives in the sink and finished the sandwich. She stepped over a musty bath towel and headed for the living room.
"Oh!" She bumped into Papa as he came into the kitchen.
"What was taking you so long!? It's just a sandwich." His chin's whiskers brushed against her forehead. He took orange juice from the fridge and took a swig from the bottle. His odor of old sweats and sour whiskey engulfed her. He took the sandwich from her and plopped back down in front of the TV.
She said, "Papa, I think you should take a look at this mail. Some of it looks important."
"Why should I? I've never really done much with it and it all ends up taking care of itself anyway."
An hour later, her other grandpa met her at his door. "C'mon in sweetie!" His soft chin kissed her forehead. "I was late from an elder's meeting this morning but warmed us up some lasagna." The smell of is cologne always comforted her.
"Your flowers outside are beautiful, Grandpa!"
"Thanks, Darling. I put some of the Lilies in a vase for our lunch. You okay if we eat on the deck?"
Sarah had just finished her lasagna and sat back as she said, "I don't know, Grandpa. I just kind of want to drop out. Or maybe breakup with Todd. I find myself getting impatient and mean. It's all just so much work."
Her grandpa smiled and said, "I know it's hard. And maybe you can drop a class or something. But you can do more than you think you can. And every little decision will eventually determine who you become. It's like that tree." He pointed to a grand oak tree in the back yard. "Every day it grows a little in a direction. At the end of 80 years it will look one way or another."
As they picked up their plates her grandpa poured water on a clean napkin and took special care to wipe the entire table down, getting the pollen that had gathered in the seams.
"Grandpa, why do you work so hard to take care of little things like that?"
"Oh, Hunny. Because I know every little decision determines what this house, just like our lives, will look like in 80 years."
What direction is your life bending towards?
Raw Spoon, 6-15-21